Hawaiian Poi Dog vs Dogo Cubano - Breed Comparison

Hawaiian Poi Dog is originated from Indonesia but Dogo Cubano is originated from Cuba. Hawaiian Poi Dog may grow 17 cm / 6 inches shorter than Dogo Cubano. Hawaiian Poi Dog may weigh 31 kg / 68 pounds lesser than Dogo Cubano. Both Hawaiian Poi Dog and Dogo Cubano has almost same life span. Hawaiian Poi Dog may have less litter size than Dogo Cubano. Both Hawaiian Poi Dog and Dogo Cubano requires Low maintenance.

Basic Information

Group:
Companion dog
Working dog
Origin:
Indonesia
Cuba
Height Male:
36 - 38 cm
14 - 15 inches
48 - 55 cm
18 - 22 inches
Height Female:
34 - 36 cm
13 - 15 inches
48 - 55 cm
18 - 22 inches
Weight Male:
7 - 15 kg
15 - 34 pounds
42 - 46 kg
92 - 102 pounds
Weight Female:
6 - 13 kg
13 - 29 pounds
42 - 46 kg
92 - 102 pounds
Life Span:
5 - 8 Years
8 - 10 Years
Litter Size:
3 - 5
2 - 8
Size:
Small dog
Large dog
Other Names:
Native Hawaiian Dog, and Hawaiian Islanders’ Dog., Poi Dog, Ilio, Hawaiian Dog
Cuban Mastiff, Mastin de Cuba
Colors Available:
any color with white markings, brown mostly
brindle, Brown, fawn, tan
Coat:
short and fine
Short and smooth
Shedding:
Minimal
Minimal
Temperament:
Affectionate, Playful, Stubborn
Affectionate, Aggressive, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Grooming:
Low maintenance
Low maintenance
Trainability:
Hard
Moderate
Hypoallergenic:
No
No
Kids Friendly:
Yes
Yes
New Owners Friendly:
Yes
No

History

The Hawaiian Poi Dog was a descendent of the dogs brought to the Islands by the Polynesian. These Polynesian dogs were themselves descendants of the kuri dog of New Zealand. These kuri dogs were originally from Indonesia. The Hawaiian Poi dog is now extinct but at one time was considered the spiritual protector of Hawaiian children and also used as food by hungry Native Hawaiians.

The dog was called poi which was the word for a food staple mad from the root of Taro and used to put weight on the dogs before they were eaten. Meat was not fed to the dogs because it was too scarce. There was no large mammals to hunt and so the breed was never given a standard. The Poi dog seen by European explorers were short legged, pot bellied canines that lived with the hogs in the towns. Because of what they ate, the dogs were not highly intelligent but were stubborn and hard to train. Because the dogs were not suited for much beyond food and a spiritual charm, they became extinct when the traditional religion was no longer practiced and eating dogs was no longer acceptable. The breed pretty much disappeared by the early 20th century. Very few images of the dogs remain except for ancient petroglyphs.

There was an attempt by the Honolulu Zoo in the late 1960’s to redevelop the breed using local dogs to determine a standard. Then the local dogs were bred as close to the standard as possible. In the third generation one dog was born with the traits of a Poi dog. There was not much more success with this and then the Polynesian ship travel between Tahiti and Hawaii was recreated and a dog taken along.

Today’s mixed breed dogs in Hawaii are called Poi dogs but also have the stubbornness, unique appearance and ability to eat anything it is given like the original Poi. The dogs are small, and should not be confused with the original Poi dogs.

The Cuban Mastiff which came from Cuba, was developed from breeds of Mastiffs, Bulldogs and cattle dogs, with the breed being thought to be extinct since the end of the 19th century.

The Dogo Cubano had a number of roles to fulfill in its day and they were used for guarding stock, for dog fighting and for chasing runaway slaves. After the abolishment of slavery, the large dog had no real role and it died out.

Known also as the Cuban Mastiff or Mastin de Cuba, there isn’t much accuracy as to its origins, with the most common story for their origin being that they are descendants of the Molossus.

The dogs were later introduced into Western Europe, becoming fairly common in England and Spain. The dog was also was also mentioned in the works of canine authors Stonehenge and George Wood.

Description

As previously mentioned the Poi dog is somewhat unusual in size and shape due to what they ate. They looked somewhat like the native dogs of Polynesia and New Zealand. They have short legs, long bodies, somewhat obese and a very flat head. He had a short smooth coat, in any color or any pattern. They were however mostly brown and they might or might not have white markings.

The Dogo Cubano was generally similar to other Mastiffs and stood at rough 48 – 55cm in height and weighing in the region of 45kg.

He was a large dog, powerfully built, muscular and strong. Images of the dog show that it had strong, straight legs with a long tapering tail and medium-sized floppy ears that were sometimes cropped upwards and close to the head.

The dog breed came in a variety of colors such as brown, tan, fawn and brindle. The muzzle was broad and short and black. The dog had pronounced jowls with its face being fairly wrinkly.

Temperament:

This large dog was known for being a courageous, independent and aggressive dog. He became attached to his owner, showing protective characteristics .In those days the dog would have received simple training and certainly if such a large dog still existed today, it would have to receive training and socialization as well.

The Dogo Cubano was an intelligent dog and easily trainable, requiring an owner with a firm hand. Being an aggressive breed, the dog possibly wouldn’t have been the best companion for children. He also wouldn’t have got on too well with pets in the home as he was trained to be a fighter in his day. Independent and strong-willed, the dog would not have suited a novice dog owner.

Health Problems

Probably due to its diet, the Poi dog had several problems to their health. Their poor diet led to a sluggishness both in movement and intelligence. Its development was hampered by a lack of protein. Malnutrition and serious over inbreeding caused a weakness and poor oral hygiene. Due to this lack of teeth and chewing the bones in the dogs heads became flat. The Poi had breathing issues and overall lethargy.

The Dogo Cubano was a generally healthy breed, but just like with most other dog breeds, they were also prone to some of the more common dog problems. The chances of him getting sick were slim though.

When the dog first originated, there were unlikely to have been health clearance certificates, but today, you’d want health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.

The reason for this is that hip dysplasia is a heritable condition, seen more often in large dogs, where the thigh bone doesn’t fit into the hip joint properly. The dog suffers with pain and discomfort and the condition can lead to lameness with the dog.

Gastric Torsion or Bloat is a life threatening condition that affects large dogs like the Dogo Cubano and those with deep chests. The stomach is distended with gas and it can twist.

The gas can’t escape and blood flow is hindered. The dog vomits, is lethargic and weak, and immediate veterinary help will be required.

Caring The Pet

Feeding the puppy

With meat being rare in Hawaii, none was available for the dogs. They were fed Poi – from the Taro plant roots. Puppies were fed 2-3 times a day.

Feeding the adult

The adult dog was fed once or twice a day the same as Poi puppies were fed.

Points for Good Health

The Hawaiian Poi dog basically has not good health points.

Games and Exercises

The Poi dog did not need and did not get much exercise, leading to its demise.

Exercise:

The Dogo Cubano was a large dog, so if he did become used to living in the city, he would have adapted better to life in the country.

He wasn’t a dog requiring too much exercise but he would have needed to go for walks. They were used as guard dogs long ago, and if he had been in existence today, you wouldn’t have been able to include him in your jogging and cycling as he was a dog that could easily overheat.

Diet:

Not all dogs require the same amount of food. Long ago the Dogo Cubano wouldn’t have had the same variety of dog foods available today. Maybe the dog in those days was fed the same kind of food that his owner ate.

Today, if these dogs were still around, they would require the best quality ‘large dog breed’ kibble.

The better the dog food, the more nourishing it is and the healthier the dog is. The Dog Cubano would likely have been a dog that drooled, leaving quite a bit of backwash in the water bowl, so it would have been important to wash out the drinking bowl and to regularly replace it with cool, fresh water.

Characteristics

Children friendliness

The Hawaiian Poi dog was very friendly and good with children

Special talents

The Poi was considered a good luck charm and a spiritual protector of children

Adaptability

Given what they faced in life, the Poi dog was very adaptable, living anywhere on the islands and eating anything it could find.

Learning ability

Due to their poor diet, the Hawaiian Poi dog was seriously lacking in intelligence and learning ability.

The Dogo Cubano was bred to be a guard dog as well as for dog fighting, but this large dog, with training and socialization, no doubt became a loyal and devoted family pet.

It was actually a social dog, being aggressive towards other dogs. He would be described as a dog better suited to a home with older children.

He was protective with his human family but not very active, being too big to be leaping around like other dog breeds. It is a pity that this large dog has disappeared as he had some good qualities.

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